While stylishly capturing the verve, exotica, and free-spirited mojo of swinging '60s London, uber-prolific English director Michael Winterbottom's portrait of legendary U.K. smut impresario Paul Raymond is otherwise a shallow misfire.
In this light-hearted period biopic, a cool Steve Coogan brings a cheeky urbane swagger to his portrayal of Paul Raymond, the adult-entertainment entrepreneur who brought nude live shows and softcore pornography to the masses.
Though this might be the least of their four creative collaborations... The Look of Love provides the same unique pleasure exclusive to their pairings: an opportunity for the oft-misused Coogan to shine.
The film begins after Debbie's death, with Raymond watching a documentary about her life. No sooner has this started than the action switches to a second documentary. Even Citizen Kane only needed one documentary-within-the-film, for goodness sake.
The film tells this story with gaudy brio, but the tone is wildly uneven, veering between Swinging 60s romp, nudge-wink satire and cautionary fable, as if Winterbottom and Greenhalgh couldn't decide what film they were making or who Raymond really was.